Should we be redeeming flights directly to USA or making a RTW award?

Hi Hackers,
My husband and I are going to the US in 2021 with plans to stop in LA, NOLA, NYC and possibly Vegas.
What’s the best use of Qantas points and cash for this? Should we just go for dir3ct flights to the US with Qantas or would we be better off looking at a RTW fair, maybe via the Middle East?
I’m new to points chasing so sorry if this is a common question,

Hi Marisa,

Welcome to the world of point hacking!

Your question is a good one. It would help if you could give us a couple more details:

  • You’ll be travelling in 2021 which means you’ll be booking the flights in 2020. How many Qantas points do you envisage having by then? How many do you have now?

  • Do you have any points in other frequent flyer or reward programmes (eg. AmEx rewards, FlyBuys etc)? These could possibly be used for domestic flights within the USA if required.

Speaking generally, yes, if you have the points/cash, and the time, for a round-the-world trip, then that would be a great thing to do. I’m a very strong believer that the “best” use of points is to use them in the way that gets you the most enjoyment. So if you’ll enjoy a RTW trip and you can afford it (either in points or cash), then go for it.

Hope this helps. And thanks for teaching me something … I had no idea that NOLA is another name for New Orleans until I Googled it!

Thanks so much for replying SixtyEight!
At the moment, I have around 66,000 Qantas points, 100,000 CBA points, approx 60,000 velocity points and I’ve just signed up for the bonus Amex 100,000 Qantas points (which I look on track to be getting).
My husband will sign up for the Amex bonus next year and at the moment, he has around 45,000 Qantas points. I’m not sure how many velocity points will have.
I think when I said that I want the “best” I should have clarified! I would like to know how best to optimise my points so that I can get business class flights - should it be upgraded, points plus cash, look for straight business fare or should I look for RTW as the most economic option?
I’m not sure how many points I will have by 2020, but I’m happy to look at purchasing miles too.
Glad you liked the term NOLA! Easier to say and spell :joy::joy:

Hi again Marisa,

Thanks for those clarifications.

The best way to optimise your points to get business class flights is to book reward flights. If you use points plus cash you won’t get the best value-for-points, and the problem with using points for upgrades is that there’s no guarantee whatsoever that you’ll get the upgrades you apply for. So if you want to fly in business using points, book a business class award flight.

Yes, RTW is a fantastic use of points and it’ll net you the most kilometres per point. The problem in your case is that you’ll need 318,000 Qantas points per person for a RTW award in Business – 636000 points for the two of you. You currently have 111,000 points between you, with another 200000 points due from your AmEx bonuses.

Can you get up to 636,000 points before you have to book next year? It is possible – but you’ll have to be very aggressive in your points hacking. It’d involve stuff like each of you signing up for at least another 1-2 credit cards with good sign-up bonuses, doing all your grocery shopping from Woolies, maybe considering switching your health insurance to Qantas and your electricity to Red Energy, buying your booze from Qantas Wine, etc etc. I can tell you from experience that, for a couple who both have an income, half a million points per year is doable, but it’ll be tight!

A less aggressive strategy would be to use Qantas points to get to/from the USA directly. You’ll still need more than 500,000 points, depending on where you’re travelling from/to, but it’s obviously a little easier. Then you could either pay for your flights within the USA, or use your Velocity points (including points you could convert from CBA to Velocity) to pay for Delta domestic flights.

Alternatively, of course, you could use points to pay for one, two or three one-way legs to/from the USA, and money for the rest. Or points to pay for one RTW flight – you have plenty of options.

You have plenty of time to think, and to plan, and also to do some “dummy” bookings to check availability. All the best and I hope things come together!

And one of the better restaurants in NOLA is called just that!

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